Nowadays, it is a virtual world. Although we eat, drink, and sleep in real-time, most of our day surrounds by screens. Our world is filled with the things we like to do, listen, see, and eat. Television shows equally affect adults and children, concerning their eating habits, lifestyle choices, etc. And no wonder the cartoon shows affect children’s diet. How? Let’s find it out.
The situation became stronger since the pandemic struck. In no time, things changed, impacting all lives. No one was spared, not even our little munchkins. Those little kids, whose rods and cones are still developing, whose motor neurons need to move not only fingers but also every part of their body, were compelled to stay indoors. The cartoons regretted earlier by the parents suddenly become life savior to them.
How Cartoon Shows Affect Children’s Diet?
Since the entertainment industry has seen massive growth, the new entertainment arena started, capturing one of the most sensitive age groups – our kids. Children are deeply involved with these cartoon characters that they start imitating them knowingly/unknowingly. As screen time has increased, these characters are overpowering the essential nature of a child.
If the things shown in the program are mild and calm, kids do behave similarly, but if they watch shows that have a plump character, their behavior becomes more aggressive and disobedient. Kids try to imitate these characters at home.
Kid’s brains are susceptible and catchy to external influence. It is well known to the manufacturers of unhealthy food items; they lure kids with fancy covers and so-called free toys. We observe the same pattern in the eating habits of kids. To be more like the cartoon character, they start eating food items or products promoted during the program. Food items liked by their favorite character become important to them. Unfortunately, food products shown in and during the program are denser in calories than being nutritious. On-screen cartoons liking them makes the kid more convinced to consume them.
My son Aryan likes a show called “PJ Masks” and the character “Cat Boy” who likes to eat cakes and biscuits. Like Cat Boy, he started enjoying cakes and biscuits. Every time he watches the show, he wants one to relate with the character. It profoundly influenced his eating routine, hunger reflex, food choices, and emotions. With plenty of time in hand due to the pandemic, the daily dose of show and cakes/biscuits started.
Biscuits and cakes are calorie-dense confectionery items with very little nutrition than energy. Sometimes, kids can have them, but daily intake is a bad idea. My son, Aryan, started eating biscuits frequently, resulting in increased weight and darker skin color. Lack of physical activity and lack of sun exposure made the situation worse.
Proper Nutrition For Children
Proper nutrition and balanced diets are the main ingredients for a healthy body and satisfactory academic performance. Any breach in this cycle may disrupt the physical, emotional, and social development of the child. Poor nutrition may lead to obesity in children too.
Nutrients mainly contain macronutrients and micronutrients.
Macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats
Micronutrients: minerals and vitamins
Both are equally important to attain health and perform academically. If carbohydrate gives us energy, then proteins are the building blocks. Good fats are essential to produce hormones, while vitamins and minerals perform hundreds of roles in the body, from healing wounds to boosting immunity. Having a healthy diet is the key to success in life to keep your body active and toned. A good diet must accompany physical exercise. Doing daily physical activity keeps many childhood diseases at bay.
What Can You Do?
You cannot force kids to change the channel or start watching another show. But to break the chain, we introduced more gameplay and physical activity to divert his point of interest. We started educating him about a healthy diet and the importance of healthy living.
It is said that “never give up because great things take time.” Believing this, we kept trying. We noticed changes. We did, so you too can. Start as early as possible to get early results. Have faith in the treasure of traditional cooking, and it is time-tested and nutritious also.
Read Also: 5 Healthy Habits For The Whole Family